Shea “Money” Abramo Stirs the Creative Pot
New Anderson Artists Guild member Shea Abramo is better known by the nickname Shea Money. Starting when she used to sell ties door to door for her grandfather, she’s always had a knack for turning her skills and personality into cash. “I’m a busy bee,” she said. “I’ve always figured out how to prioritize talents and skills and make money.”
An Arizona native and lifelong doodler, she spent three years studying online with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh before her wanderlust led to a career as a traveling bartender for eight years. “I traveled to places I wanted to see,” she said. “It was crazy.” She lived in Alaska, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Minnesota, spending six months at a time in Alaska and no more than three months elsewhere. She often lived in small communes and did additional jobs in exchange for housing, from picking coffee beans to selling coconut water at a roadside stand to driving a tour van.
When she came to South Carolina to be near family, she ended up falling in love, marrying, and settling down. She has worked in area restaurants and event spaces but mostly has figured out a way to support herself through art.
She does a lot of commission work, from pet portraits to landscapes and clients’ houses. She also does live paintings at church, at concerts, and at weddings. For the concerts, she’s paid a fee to paint for a couple hours, then auctions the piece off on Facebook at the end of the night. For weddings, she charges by the size of the canvas. “I ask them to let me capture the moment the way I see it,” she said, usually some variation of the couple at the venue. She does no advertising, for word of mouth is sufficient, especially for the wedding paintings. “One bride will set me up for four more,” she said.
She has also exhibited her work, hosting shows with other artists. The last one was at La Bella & Co., an event space above Blake and Brady, where she sold three pieces.
During the pandemic, she created an art subscription box called parcel o’ pals. Featuring over 15 items from 10 artist entrepreneurs and recently funded by the Clemson Arts Center, the boxes have included such goodies as beaded zipper pulls, watercolor prints, teabags, and magnets.
She’s also dedicated to community improvement, most notably as the lead artist of the Cleo Bailey Experiment. At the site of an abandoned mill hill school in Anderson, a group of volunteers is planning a community garden, artisan spaces, and stores. “The neighborhood needs a boost,” she said. “The space is so important to the people who went there.”
Abramo works mainly in acrylic though she considers herself a multimedia artist. She has evolved from abstract, whimsical seascapes to more realistic landscapes based on photographs taken by others. “I’ve focused on taking unique places I find intriguing and painting that,” she said. “Lately I’ve been getting other photographers involved. Their subject matter inspires me, and the painting I do inspires them. I’ve stirred up this creative pot, and it makes something new.”
For more information about Abramo, visit https://www.sheamoney.com/.